A crevasse decorated with icicles rose ahead, as if the deep
cleft just now surmounted had not provided sufficient
majesty. We considered clusters of clouds; they
contained almost everything that was important to us.


Not this dent du requin, nor the quartzite and schist,
granite and gneiss, which, despite their styles of beauty
do roughen and diminish a great range.


Weird crag and polite snow create an
interfold and with little imagination, make of the
Starnberger See a vessel for tourists’ views of mere hills.


Now two form a pyramid so that a third might be hoisted
onto their shoulders and a traverse of the rising ridge
ahead is attempted, as a semi-chorus enunciates the
crisp verbs that cut through narrowness of gully, rib, fang.

Beyond the third tooth, we witness the disappointing
diminuendo of a deep cleft and the distance of words.
A lackadaisical list. Night frost. We insist on wonder,
on a catalogue of a conference of looming awe:
Schwarzehorn, Weisshorn, Monte Baldo, Monte Bondone,
Monte Gazza, Cima di Brenta, Cima Toss, Corno di Cavento,
Mendelpass, Monte Vioz, Punta Cadini…


Author’s Bio

NYLA MATUK’s first full-length collection is Sumptuary Laws (2012). Her poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, The Walrus, Hazlitt, Best Canadian Poetry in English 2012, Maisonneuve, New Poetries VI (Carcanet Press, 2015) and PN Review, among others. She was twice a finalist for the Walrus Poetry Prize and Sumptuary Laws was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for a best first book of poetry in Canada.